Taipei – While Typhoon Morakot triggered flooding and landslides had demolished a small percentage of Taiwan’s scenic spots, the tourism industry is anticipating an even worse scenario of a sharp decline of tourist arrivals from abroad and a slumping market for domestic travel, a tourism official said Thursday.
Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai said international tourist arrivals from August to October could drop by 10 percent from the level of the same period of last year, leading to industry losses of up to NT$2.7 billion (US$84.4 million).
As many tour groups from China have canceled trips to Taiwan in the wake of the worst flooding in 50 years in some southern areas of the country, only an average of 700 Chinese tourists are expected each day in the coming weeks, a drastic decline from the daily average of 2,000 at the end of July.
Lai said the bureau has contacted travel businesses in China, suggesting that they can still design impressive tour packages, since most of the tourist attractions remain intact.
Although the iconic mountain resort of Alishan was seriously damaged by floods and mudslides, there are many other mountainous scenic spots in central Taiwan worth seeing, she added.
As the nation mourns the dead and works on rehabilitation and reconstruction, people’s interest in domestic travel has also declined.
The bureau said that with the number of domestic tourists down by 15 percent in August compared with the same month of the previous year, the tourism industry will lose another NT$5.9 billion.